Is the Middle of the Day the Best Time to Exercise?

There’s a lot of speculation as to the optimum time of day to reap the most benefits from exercise. A recent study, however, shows that our muscles may respond best in the middle of the day.

Get Your Groove On

No matter what any study reports, exercise will be beneficial any time of day. As long as you show up and do the work, your body will love you for it. This information from this particular research will help those wanting to reap maximum benefits from a workout—whether you’re someone who hits the gym four times a week or if you’re a seasoned athlete.

Circle, Canadian, Cartha…What?

Researchers at Northwestern University discovered that cell metabolism is regulated by a person’s circadian rhythm. Your circadian schedule is basically your 24-hour inner clock. It informs your body when it is awake time or sleep time (and vice versa.)

It turns out that muscle tissue also responds to this inner clock. Energy efficiency, then, peaks for each individual (human) during the day. As part of the research, they studied nocturnal animals and their muscle responses. For them, logically, their finest hours of energy efficiency were in the middle of the night.

Breathing, Awake Muscles

As we carry on throughout our day, our energy levels will be more efficient than in the evening, for example. That’s not to say that you can’t workout at night. You can. And even then, your body’s metabolism will remain faster for hours afterwards. It’s just that burning energy and oxygenizing muscle cells won’t be at their peak.

It appears that muscle cells can utilize energy best (in humans) in the daytime. Exactly what time will vary according to each person’s personal circadian rhythm.

Muscle Performance

It’s true that if you workout in the morning, you will reap the benefit for hours as your day continues. Exercise raises your metabolism.

The researchers of this particular experiment believe that when your muscle cells are optimally oxygenated, the perks of exercise are even greater. So, depending on the time of day, along with glucose and then the generation of lactic acid, your workout could be fantastically phenomenal.

Other Benefits

Although this theory will require further studies, it’s an interesting look into how to possibly manipulate oxygen and sugar levels in muscles. That is something that could eventually lead to an alternative approach to treatment for diabetes.

It could also become a strategy for serious and professional athletes. Finding out their optimum time of day when to train could increase their performance potential.

Regardless of if you exercise for personal fitness, or if you push your body for sports or other training, taking the time—whatever time of day—is what’s most important. Get the job done.

Is There a Fix for Childhood Obesity?

Youth obesity is a prevalent, dangerous (and growing) epidemic. Can there be a plan where prevention of weight-gain and increase in healthy weight-loss can exist? Yes, there may be an interesting and potentially successful fix for childhood obesity.

What it’s Looked Like in The Past

Diet, as a term, basically means the types and amounts of foods someone typically eats. “Dieting”, however, has become known as the practice of reducing calories and changing eating and exercise patterns.

Many youth-based obesity programs focus on “dieting.” They often stress the counting of intake calories, along with counting calories burned through exercise. That’s a plausible and proven successful method of accomplishing a weight-loss goal. But is it working? Clearly, not well enough.

A New Approach

Mindful eating” is a new buzz-term that can truly benefit our overweight and obese youth. It’s an approach to eating that emphasizes on how the body feels while eating—and afterwards.

There’s a focus on the foods we put into our mouths. That would be a simplistic definition of mindful eating. But, Dr. Lenna Liu explains that a more demonstrative example of that focus means, “It allows us to pay attention to hunger and fullness, emotional connections to food and the relationships involved in eating.”

How Do You Feel?

Mindful eating focuses on what we ingest and why. If I’m feeling sad and I eat a gallon of ice cream, it’s pretty obvious what I’m eating and why.

Keeping an eye on ourselves, with compassion, we can make healthy food choices that focus on using food as energy. That’s what its intention is/was. All the artificial flavors and fats and salts…those are all unhealthy soothers.

Dr. Lenna Lui is a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She expresses that mindful eating focuses on positives, not negatives. She suggests we all observe our emotional connection to foods and how we respond accordingly.

Being Models For Our Kids

We all grab for “comfort” food. But why does food need to be the comfort? There must be an alternate, progressive way to help our youth. They needn’t tie their emotional needs or disappointments into eating. We can teach them differently!

As Liu points out, “the urge to eat due to emotions can occur suddenly and urgently.” If we, as adults, can recognize what’s going on, we can communicate or model a healthier approach for our children.

Explaining, demonstrating, and modeling that food is a beautiful necessity—we need it to “think, play, learn, and grow.” Also, making sure we provide healthy foods in the home will make a huge difference how children choose their foods. Working together, we all can make a difference.

 

 

Not sleeping? Feel tired when you wake up? Know The Powerful Effects of Magnesium

Did you know that our bodies have an internal master clock? It runs on a 24-hour cycle and it’s called our circadian clock, which is the timekeeper for our circadian rhythms. Our rhythms are the up-and-down flow of our hormones depending on whether its day or night. These hormones guide us to have energy during the day and relax us to sleep at night. If our circadian rhythms are out-of-whack, our sleep-wake cycles are disrupted, which puts our health at risk.

Sounds like you may lack Magnesium.

THE STUDY

A recent study out of the University of Edinburgh published in the journal Nature, shows that magnesium levels in humans’ (and other organisms’) cells rise and fall with a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. The amount of magnesium in the cells directly related to how closely a person followed their sleep cycle and how and when they burned energy. This is a fascinating discovery for those of us interested in metabolism and a more effective conversion process from turning food onto fuel—and also for those of us who need a good night’s sleep!

Magnesium levels affected the circadian clock in positive ways. For one, cells were able to process energy with increased efficiency. And alternately, cells abided by a natural sleep cycle. Both day and night, cellular function of sleep-wake cycles improved from higher magnesium levels. This doesn’t mean everyone ingesting more magnesium will awake at 6am daily and fall asleep at 10pm. It does, however, imply that whenever you wake up, you’ll feel energetic, and by the time your day is done, you will feel comfortably tired. Each person has his/her own internal circadian clock, which is what differentiates those identified as early birds, or conversely, night owls.

GO TO SLEEP

The National Sleep Foundation reported that about 15% of American adults say they always have trouble sleeping and that up to 40% claim they have occasional insomnia. Melatonin is a commonly used natural supplement to aid in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Some studies, however, cite that melatonin causes drowsiness and prepares the body for sleep mode, but it doesn’t necessarily induce a full night’s sleep.

It appears magnesium may soon be recommended as our natural go-to mineral for metabolic and/or sleep irregularities. Currently, the Natural Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 320 mg of magnesium daily for women over 30. Over-the-counter supplements are available, but the most beneficial form of magnesium comes from fresh foods. Some of these include: almonds, cashews, legumes, broccoli, kale, spinach, black beans, soybeans, whole-wheat cereals, and fish.

CHECK FIRST

Before pumping up on the magnesium, check with your doctor. Certain medications can create an adverse physical reaction when combined with magnesium supplements. The findings of this new study remind us that we require good sleep for optimum health. Nighttime hormones generate healing in our body, just as daytime ones give us the energy to be productive. Eating well can help us count more years to our lives instead of counting more sheep.

Make sure to check out GetThrive.com for more information about your health and wellness.

Drink This And You’ll Live Longer!

Take one of your sugary drinks each day and replace it with water. A recent study shows this creates a significant difference in your health – and help you live longer!

Sugar, Sugar

Sweetened beverages like soda, juice, coffee drinks, and “energy” drinks contain more sugar than you can handle healthily. The caloric intake from the addition of those drinks into your daily diet can be detrimental. Replacing even one of those beverages with water each day will make a huge difference.

Sugar, cane sugar, fructose, sucrose, and others sounding similar add empty calories to your body’s daily consumption. They have zero nutritional value. Even “diet” drinks are unhealthy. The sugar-substitutes are mostly chemical and also do not offer vitamins, minerals, or fiber.

Sweetened beverages in your diet increase your risk for weight gain, obesity, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. The journal Nutrients recently published their findings—simply replacing one of those sweet drinks with a glass of water (once a day even!) decreases all of the above-listed risks.

Side Note:

Another thing about sugary beverages…Those who consume them are more apt to have a less healthy diet overall. The more sodas that someone drinks, for example, the more hamburgers, French fries, and other unhealthy foods they are apt to consume.

Conversely, those who drink water and low-sugar beverages tend to eat foods higher in fiber, protein, and valuable vitamins, and minerals.

The Sugar Study

Researchers collected data from close to 20,000 participants between the year 2007 and 2012. They discovered that those who substituted a glass of water for a glass of juice or soda reaped better health results overall.

An adjunct faculty member of the Virginia Tech University study stated, “We found that among U.S. adults who consume one serving of sugar-sweetened beverages per day, replacing that drink with water lowered the percent of calories coming from drinks from 17 to 11 percent.” That’s a big, beneficial difference.

Water Options

Water from your tap may not taste good. It also may contain too much fluoride. What’s the story with bottled water? www.GetThrive.com has shared research on this particular topic several times this year. Bottom line, however, water is a must.

If you don’t trust your tap, boil it. If you need some flavor, add fresh lemon juice. A gulp first thing in the morning is totally purifying.

Fancy Water

CHLOROPHYLL WATER has become a commonly ordered drink at juice bars and yoga studios. Chlorophyll can increase the quantity of red blood cells in the body—thus transporting more oxygen through the cells. Studies have shown that it enhances energy and assists in removing pollutants and metals from our bloodstream.

COCONUT WATER is chock full of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. The micronutrients in coconut water help boost the immune system. It’s also rumored that the plant hormones called cytokinins existing in coconut water exhibit anti-aging, antithrombotic, and anticancer effects.

Water is at the root of our existence. Embrace your roots and drink from the fountain (but not the one at the elementary school). Keep hydrated from a natural source and your body will smile and keep healthy.

 

Why Magnesium Is Essential

A whopping 80% of Americans are believed to be magnesium deficient but what is it, and why magnesium is essential?  Calcium was considered to be the most important element in our bodies, second to air (oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen).  Only in recent years, the medical industry is understanding how important the element magnesium is, labeled ‘macro mineral’, which the body requires in order to function to its maximum capabilities.  Magnesium helps turn the food into energy, keeping muscles, heart and nervous system all in check, while also maintaining bone strength and improving the immune system.

 

Benefits Of Magnesium

Today’s society is experiencing a decline of magnesium in the body due to present lifestyle influences like diet, environment, and certain medicines.  Many don’t recognize they are deficient blaming the symptoms on stress, fatigue or anxiety.  The assistance of magnesium in the body is essential for the following reasons:

  • Regulates insulin levels and the response of sugar in the body
  • Magnesium paired with zinc, copper and vitamin D all help strengthen bone density, assisting keeping osteoporosis at bay.
  • Helps keep the heart rhythm regular and guards the heart from muscle stress caused by sickness, constipation or indigestion.
  • Reduces lactic acid which causes pain after exercising.
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Assists with energy

 

Are You Lacking?

There are a number of symptoms that may suggest a lack of magnesium including:

  • sleep problems
  • Migraines
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Skin problems
  • Constipation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Food cravings

There are several indicators, and in these cases, visiting a doctor is advised.  They include, extreme thirst and hunger, frequent urination, dry skin, blurry vision and tingling in hands and feet as well as muscle spasms.

 

Magnesium In Food

If the symptoms are not severe, promoting magnesium naturally, by consuming certain foods, will help with the milder symptoms.

Some of these foods include:

  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach or Kale
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Dairy foods
  • Nuts
  • Whole grain bread
  • Brown rice
  • Avocado
  • Beans
  • Dark chocolate

Taking an oral magnesium supplement may also help a magnesium deficiency, but it can have side effects on the stomach and may not be recommended for someone with a digestive issue like IBS or acid reflux.  There is an alternative that comes in a cream form (magnesium chloride cream), and this bypasses the digestive tract and enters the blood stream more directly.  In a recent study scientists have suggested that people with higher than average blood pressure may be magnesium deficient and will benefit from this cream.

 

Blood Tests

Making sure enough magnesium is present is imperative, but if any symptoms suggest a deficiency, then enhance the leafy greens and visit a doctor for further advice.  A doctor can give a blood test to see if a lack of magnesium is obvious.  It is important to remember that unless a severe deficiency exists, a serum blood test may not recognize the shortage of magnesium.  A RBC test is thought to be more precise, checking magnesium levels in your red blood cells.  The third test is an ionized test which uses a machine that isolates the magnesium ions.  This is the most accurate test, allowing doctors to get a truthful reading of magnesium levels.  The last test is a EXA test, which is basically a cheek swab using tissue gathered from the mouth.

So whether leg cramps, migraines, cravings, insomnia or heart irregularity, take magnesium seriously as there is one thing for certain, it’s a critical macro mineral we can’t live without.

 

RESOURCES

Dr. Mark Sircus.  Why 80% of us Are Deficient in Magnesium

Magnesium Deficiency in Multiple Sclerosis

Magnesium rich food

Yoga and Tai Chi Instead of Medication

Medication may not be enough to relieve pain; Alternative non-medicinal approaches such as Tai Chi and Yoga can be successful pain relievers—without negative side effects.

Tough to Admit

Western medical professionals have voiced their doubts about yoga, acupuncture, and massage as practical healing approaches. These alternative practices, until recently, haven’t offered up the data required by health insurance companies to endorse them. Thousands of years of success in relieving pain just wasn’t enough, evidently.

Numerous studies, however, along with patient testimony, has finally given Tai Chi, yoga, and acupuncture their due place at the top of “modern” healing practices. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has publicly stated that non-drug approaches to pain management can be significantly beneficial.

The Studies Matter

We are living in a time where opioids as painkillers are overused and misused. Doctors and patients have been scrambling for non-medicinal, successful pain management for at least two decades. After all, each year, there are over 125 million adults in America who suffer from some type of pain. Forty million more suffer from extreme, chronic pain.

The NIH analyzed 50 years of data from 105 randomized controlled trials. Between 1966 and 2016, alternative treatment was provided for five different ailments. They were: back pain, neck pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.

Seven non-drug treatments were utilized in the study. Among them were: yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture, massage, and relaxation techniques. They all reaped benefits to the participants, but the first-three proved to bring tremendous pain-relieving results. The study review was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The findings suggested that with prescription medicines, these alternative treatments can be extra useful. They could, potentially, however, be worthy as stand-alone, non-drug, pain-relieving treatments.

Feel Good News

This news sheds optimism on finding and utilizing methods to reduce pain that garner no side effects. If acupuncture becomes addictive, so be it. If after a yoga session, pain is reduced and energy enhanced, so be that as well. Here’s to shedding pain and gaining comfort.

Check out www.GetThrive.com for more info on pain management and optimum health.

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Feeling Stressed or Anxious? You’re not Alone

Do you often feel fatigued, tense, irritable, and nervous? These are all common symptoms of stress and anxiety. Although you may feel alone, the diagnosis of anxiety disorders and depression is on the rise in the United States.

Mental Health Studies

According to a 2014 study by the American Psychological Association, 35% of participants reported a chronic feeling of “nervousness and anxiety.”

By 2015, this number increased to 42%. Furthermore, “constant worrying” increased from 28% to 33%, with “feeling depressed or sad” increasing from 32% to 37%.

Additional statistics to note:

  • Compared to Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, younger generations are reporting higher levels of stress.
  • The American Institute of Stress reported that 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms of stress. Also, 48% feel that their stress level has increased over the past five years.
  • According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 6 million people suffer from panic disorder, while 15 million suffer from social anxiety disorder.
  • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population.

What Does this Data Mean?

First things first, if you’re concerned that you suffer from stress, anxiety, and/or depression, remember this: you are not alone. Also, since more attention is being drawn to mental health concerns, there is a greater probability of finding a treatment strategy that generates positive results.

While help is available, there’s another statistic that is a bit worrisome: only one-third (approximately) of people suffering from an anxiety disorder are receiving treatment. Fortunately, you don’t have to be part of this group. Instead, you can get on the right path by understanding some of the top symptoms of stress and anxiety:

  • Migraine headache
  • Squeezing pain in the stomach
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Nail-biting
  • Overeating or no appetite
  • Constant worry
  • Restless (or no) sleep
  • The feeling that you want to cry

The primary reason to treat stress is to remove it from your life once and for all. Along with this, you don’t want the problem to worsen over time. Continual stress and anxiety can develop into a disorder, thus leading to long term depression.

Some of the symptoms associated with depression include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in extracurricular activities
  • Persistent feeling of sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Stress Relievers Exist

It’s a common belief that medication is the only way to treat stress, anxiety, and depression, however, nothing could be further from the truth. The following treatment options have been proven effective for many people:

  • This doesn’t mean you have to become a marathon runner overnight. A daily walk, a bike ride, or a visit to your local gym will do wonders to relieve tension. When you exercise aerobically, your endorphins will kick in and fill you with a “feel good” hormone rush. Yoga can also be a lifesaver.
  • You don’t need to visit India to learn how to meditate. Sitting in a quiet space with your eyes closed, taking deep breaths, is often enough to transform your life. The object is to calm and quiet your mind. Meditation can also lower your blood pressure.
  • Talk about it. Contact a family member or friend to discuss your mental state. Make an appointment with a counselor or therapist. Sharing what’s on your mind can help remove some (or all) stress from your life.

Conclusion

There is more to living a healthy life than eating right and exercising. You should focus on your mental health as well.

If you need help, don’t hesitate to practice a variety of stress-relief techniques while also seeking professional assistance. Also, if you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

 

Dr. Dave Campbell Commentary:

That may be a lot to take in. But I remind patients suffering from crippling back pain, chronic spinal disease, paralysis and other ailments seen in a spinal surgery practice, mine, that taking small steps to curb stress and anxiety is more effective, and longer lasting, that ‘swinging for the fence’. And everyone is different. The joke in clinic today was a young man, a cowboy that lives on a ranch out west of town hurt his low back roping cattle. He needed stress-relieving, muscle-strengthening core exercises. He was a classic, wearing boots, a big belt-buckle and jeans. I told him, in my most doctorly voice, “Partner, you need to start a yoga class, it has been scientifically shown to be effective for back pain”. The belly laugh he gave brought the entire clinic to a halt. Everyone started laughing with him, and at me. It was great fun. And yes, most cowboys don’t want to be told to go to a yoga class. But once he realized the male to female ratio, and gave it a little more thought, the idea of a yoga class didn’t seem quite so bad.

Find your own stress-relieving and anxiety-busting behaviors and activities. If you choose it you will own it.

 

For more great articles on health and wellness, check out GetThrive.com

 

Too Little Protein? Long-Term Health Effects Not So Good

We need protein in our diet to stay healthy. But how much do we need so we don’t experience negative, long-term health effects?

A Must-Have

Protein provides essential amino acids to keep our bodies healthy. Diets that restrict protein may be placing you in future danger. On a day-to-day basis, consuming too little protein may make you lethargic. You may have an increased appetite. Either way, you’re not putting yourself in harm’s way—at least not today. On a long-term health scale however, too little protein will eventually cause cellular breakdown.

Protein amino acids help build cellular structure. They keep “housing” cells strong and functional. Such cells may be those that strengthen the walls of your heart. They fortify the muscles that protect your bones. Without the necessary amount of amino acids, those cellular structures will become weakened over time.

How Much?

How much protein we need is still up for debate. Some experts recommend consistent helpings throughout the day. A side benefit is that protein helps you feel fuller and provides energy for a longer period. All are in agreement, however, that some protein is better than none.

What happens if there’s too little consumption of protein? Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University offers his expertise. He explains that your body will compensate and rescue its most important parts. The body will “take amino acids from your skeletal muscle in order to supply your heart or some other organs.”

This is comparable to how calcium is stolen from pregnant mothers. If the expectant mom has too little calcium intake, the growing baby will take it how he/she can. Years later, women find themselves with osteoporosis or other calcium-deficient caused disorders.

Don’t Worry, Eat Protein

Yes, the long-term negative effects of being protein-deficient are worrisome. The calming news is that more than likely, your regular diet provides an ample amount. There is protein in mostly all animal-sourced and plant-based foods. Unless you’re eating only carbohydrates, chances are you’re getting enough protein from an array of foods you consume.

Common foods containing protein are: poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy products, beans and peas.

Another aspect to consider is exercise. Physical movement also slows down age-related cellular breakdown. So, if you’re eating a sufficient amount of protein and exercising, your cells will maintain their strength longer. Way to keep your youth!

If you’re interested in diet, food, and exercise, check out more brief, informative articles here.